TITLE: Oppose the Siting of Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities in or Near Tribal Lands and Major Population Centers
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, since time immemorial, our economy, culture, religions and way of life have been centered around our fishing, hunting, and gathering resources, and the lands and waters upon which they depend, and we have been and remain careful and conscientious stewards over them to ensure their continued health and wellbeing; and
WHEREAS, the tribes of NCAI depend on the natural resources to sustain our way of life, rights to fish, hunt and gather, our economies, human health and fulfill our sacred obligation to protect our First Foods and our most precious natural resources, water; and
WHEREAS, the tribes of NCAI work tirelessly to protect tribal members health, safety, welfare, and futures both within and without tribal reservations; and
WHEREAS, the tribes of NCAI recognize that liquefied natural gas (LNG) could provide a cleaner fuel for ships, trucks, or cars than other fuel sources. However, NCAI tribes cannot accept that tribes, their members and tribal lands are bearing a disproportionate share of the significant risks posed by LNG facilities and federal, state, and local governments have failed to fully assess the risks to tribal members and the community as a whole; and
WHEREAS, federal, state and local agencies are supporting LNG storage facilities in areas within or in close proximity to tribal lands without significant input or consideration of tribal interests or rights; and
WHEREAS, LNG storage and the untested technology for such facilities pose significant risks to human safety, human health, and natural resources due to explosive risks, spill risks, and risk to the health of natural resources relied upon by NCAI tribes; and
WHEREAS, LNG proponents are not fully analyzing and disclosing to NCAI tribes or the general public the risks posed by LNG to human safety, human health, and natural resources due to explosive risks, spill risks, and risk to the health of natural resources; and
WHEREAS, certain NCAI tribes’ ancestral industry of fisheries relies on sustainable resources that will face detrimental impacts from the construction and operation of LNG storage and fueling facilities; and
WHEREAS, Washington Governor Jay Inslee is recognized as a champion in combating climate change and promoting responsible environmental regulation to protect natural resources; and
WHEREAS, Washington Governor Jay Inslee committed to the Puyallup Tribe to continue to assist with ensuring local jurisdictions fully assess the facility and prepare any supplemental analysis required; and
WHEREAS, coastal states, such as the state of Washington, have been delegated authority under the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act to ensure the protection of their coastlines from federal actions; and
WHEREAS, LNG facilities proposed for the Tacoma Tideflats have not been fully analyzed to assess the impacts on treaty protected resources or the coastal zone and are being constructed in violation of the Coastal Zone Management Act and conditions placed upon the facility by the State of Washington.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) calls upon states, including Washington, to fully analyze the impacts of all proposed LNG facilities and ensure that such facilities are constructed and operated in full compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act, federally protected treaty rights and all other applicable environmental laws; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI is in opposition to the siting of LNG storage and distribution facilities in or near tribal lands or major population centers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the tribes of NCAI support a strategy to document and disclose the true risks of construction and operation of LNG storage and distribution facilities to accurately disclose the risks involved with such facilities and promote siting of such facilities in areas where such risks are not disproportionately absorbed by tribes; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2018 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado October 21-26, 2018, with a quorum present.
Jefferson Keel, President
Juana Majel Dixon, Recording Secretary